Teaching Students About Barack Obama


Understanding the life and accomplishments of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, is essential for students not only to learn about American history but also to explore critical issues such as race relations, healthcare reform, and global diplomacy. This article aims to provide teachers with information and tips on how to effectively teach students about Barack Obama’s presidency.

Early Life and Education:

Born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Hussein Obama II is of mixed heritage – his father being from Kenya and his mother from Kansas. Emphasize the importance of Obama’s multicultural background as it played a significant role in forming his worldview and approach to politics. Discuss his early education at Jakarta International School in Indonesia and his return to Hawaii to study at Punahou School. Obama later attended Occidental College for two years before transferring to Columbia University, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science and International Relations.

Community Work:

Barack Obama began his career as a community organizer in Chicago after graduating from Columbia University. Explore this phase in detail – discussing how Obama’s work in low-income neighborhoods helped him better understand social issues such as poverty, joblessness, and educational disparities.

Political Career:

After receiving a law degree from Harvard University in 1991, where he was also the first African-American editor of The Harvard Law Review, Obama became a civil rights lawyer and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. Teachers should discuss Obama’s political career path, leading up to his election as Illinois State Senator in 1996.

Presidential Election Campaign:

Discussing Barack Obama’s journey through the presidential election campaigns is crucial for understanding his strategies and core beliefs. Emphasize the motto “Change We Can Believe In” that drove Obama’s campaign, touching upon key speeches such as “The Audacity of Hope” at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and memorable moments leading to his victory on November 4, 2008.

Key Accomplishments and Challenges During the Presidency:

Incorporate an overview of significant milestones throughout Obama’s presidency, including the passage and signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), his efforts to improve race relations, foreign policy achievements, and steps toward environmental conservation. Discuss challenges Obama faced during his presidency as well, such as addressing economic downturns, ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and terrorism threats.

Legacy and Impact on Society:

To conclude the study of Barack Obama’s presidency, discuss the lasting impact on society. Encourage students to think critically about changes in race relations, steps towards healthcare reform, and America’s role in global diplomacy. Assess Obama’s presidential influence on future leaders and policy changes.

By thoroughly exploring Barack Obama’s life journey and accomplishments, teachers can create engaging lesson plans that emphasize understanding 21st-century American political history while fostering discussions on important societal issues.

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